Slowing Down Techniques

On April 29th, 2012, posted in: Peaceable Classrooms, Peaceable Living, Uncategorized by 2 Comments

These mallards are swimming on Pickerel Pond.

Having been home from my time in Florida for a month now, I find that I really appreciate the forced slow-down I had while there.  I appreciate it even more now that I am back into my usual, busyness.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being busy, doing my work, but I recognize that slowing down is good for my body, mind, emotions, and soul.  Now, I must intentionally take slow-down breaks for myself so that I can maintain harmonious balance.

So how do I do that?  Well, taking a few moments to look out the window at the woods is one way.  Standing near the edge of  the pond to see what creatures are visiting as shown in the photo above is another way as is a walk down the driveway to the road to put the mail in the mailbox. Breaking up my time at the computer by doing a few stretches or yoga postures is yet another way.  All of these slow-down methods happen purposefully with my recognition that I need a break from what I am doing.  Then there is my intentional decision to do a sitting meditation or move from within to some quieting music, both begin with the breath and moving my attention inward.

There are other times when I get caught up in the intensity of a situation or overwhelmed with what I have to accomplish and don’t seem to recognize in a timely manner that I need to slow-down.  At such times, I either feel wiped out or wound-up inside and a gaze out the window isn’t going to be enough to quiet my inner world.  That’s when intentional breathing is helpful.  I stop and breathe deeply through my nose.  Just a simple complete breath, breathing from the belly, ribs, chest is often enough to quiet the uneasiness I feel within.  I work to make the exhalation longer than the inhalation, pulling my navel back toward my spine at the bottom of the out breath.  Relaxation returns.

Other times, I need to deepen my breathing even further to bring relaxation to my body/mind/emotions.  At such times, I might do square breathing.  In this breathing pattern, I breathe in for 4 counts, retain the breath for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, and retain the breath for 4 counts, all through the nose.  Slightly raising the chin at the top of the inhalation helps to make the retention of breath easier as does swallowing at the bottom of the exhalation.  I repeat this pattern until I begin to feel calmer, more relaxed.  Square breathing often brings greater relaxation to me.  Click the play button  below to expereince this breathing pattern.

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There is another option I use that combines deep breathing and repeating a personal mantra.  I will say, “I am peace.  I am love.  I am joy.” to myself as I breathe in and out deeply.  (This mantra comes from the work of Sri Ram Kaa and Kira Raa.)  On the inhalation, I breathe in ‘peace, love, and joy’ into my body.  As I exhale, I  breathe ‘peace, love, and joy’ out into my world.  Peace, love and joy within myself and outside of myself.  This mantra is very calming.  Combing my intention to become at-ease along with the words and the breath is a powerful remedy and can be done at any time wherever you are.

If you, too, find that you need to slow-down from your busy life, you might consider one of these suggestions.  Explore them.  See what one(s) work for you and under what circumstances.  Adopt one or more of these techniques and make them your own for your own self-care.

May at-easeness be yours,


*Other breathing patterns can be found in my book Creating the Peaceable Classroom.  


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